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Reviews Written by
Chris from Hampshire "Mrs C" (Hampshire, England)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

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Siege
Siege
by Sarah Mussi
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An Awesome & Thought Provoking Read, 29 Aug. 2015
This review is from: Siege (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
"Siege" – YA Fiction Book

This is one awesome and thought provoking storyline, and one which has been so cleverly thought out.

Shootings in schools are an event that we associate more with America, although even in the UK we have had some incidences.

Having read the synopsis of the book, it was more on those lines that I expected the story to go. Wow, I was so wrong! This fictional story goes far beyond anything that has happened up until now and will really surprise the reader.

Friday 18th September 2020 is supposed to be an end of week school day like any other, but by 9.22am all that changes and it is a day of unheard of tragedy and violence. Who is behind it? Who set it up and why? Leah Jackson is the main character in the book. She is 16 years old and tells us what happened that fateful day.

This is a powerful and violent story set in a school in future times. Could this happen? It is not impossible. This is a book that you will not able to put down and one which you will not forget.

It is categorised as suitable for Young Adults. I am an old adult that read and thoroughly enjoyed this book, however I would question what the lowest age a reader should be for this book. Obviously it depends on the nature of the youngster, but I would say 15 years should be the absolute youngest reader. I feel it is more suited to those nearer adulthood.

It is a real page turner, and the story would translate well into a film for the cinema or TV.


Crock-Pot Slow Cooker, 3.5 Litre, Butternut
Crock-Pot Slow Cooker, 3.5 Litre, Butternut
Offered by the_cedar_tree
Price: £39.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful, Affordable and a Great Gift!, 29 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Crock-Pot Slow Cooker 3½ ltr – Butternut Colour

Friends of mine really rate these Slow Cookers, but I have never used one until now. I think it is a kitchen item that will have more use in cooking during the winter time, but this is my impression and first experience of the Crock-Pot:-

• Nicely boxed with useful information printed on it and written in 8 languages including English. The Crock Pot is also well protected with packing inside the box.

• As well as the Crock Pot, inside the box there are 3 utensils included. They have well designed handles that are comfortable to use, and they can be hung up if required.

• The User Instructions are written in English, and are easy to follow. The Instructions cover 3 models, and you will find the model number of your slow cooker on the box it was packed in and also on a plate, on the underside of the Base Unit. It is essential to read Pages 2 & 3 in respect of safety measures when using your Crock-Pot. There are also extra safety reminders inside the metal heating base unit.

• The Base Unit is light in weight and the Butternut Colour is nice and cheery. The Dial has 4 settings – 'Off' / 'Low Cook' / 'High Cook' / 'Keep Warm'. On the side of this metal Base Unit you will see the 'Flame Sign' which warns that the metal will be hot to touch when the slow cooker is in use. The black plastic side handles feel quite sturdy and are easy and comfortable to hold. They are well away from the side of the unit so that your fingers should not touch the hot sides.

• The Cooking Stoneware is very nicely made and finished with a high gloss glaze, complete with comfortable side handles. The manufacturer states that this Stoneware can be used in an oven, but not on a hob or underneath a grill. I think this is handy as it means this part of the slow cooker has an additional use.

• The Glass Lid for the Crock-Pot is edged with silver coloured metal and has a good sized handle on the top. The handle is plastic and also has a plastic base so that your fingers will not touch the hot glass while lifting the lid. As the handle is affixed with cross-ply screws to the lid, should it get broken, then it would appear that it could easily be replaced.

• The 3.5 Litre maximum capacity of the Crock-Pot makes it large enough to serve 4 people.

• At 26½ inches long from the Base Unit to the 3 pin British Plug, it is not the longest. However while in use it would most likely be kept toward the back of the kitchen counter so should be long enough for most people.

• The Crock-Pot has a 2 year Guarantee and for any problems, a UK Freephone telephone number for the Customer Service Helpline.

I enjoyed using it, even in a minimal way just to make Vegetable Soup, for my first try out and I think it will get a lot more use for dinner cooking in the winter. To just prepare the food in the slow cooker and then set and leave is a real time saver. If out at work, it can be plugged into a wall socket using an electric timer so that dinner is ready for when you get home! Perfect!

The instructions state that the Stoneware must not be filled more than ¾ full. There is no level mark etched into or painted on the inside so you just have to judge it as best you can. I would have preferred for there to be some sort of level indicator for the maximum fill. For that reason I am deducting 1 star, but I am perhaps being a bit nit-picky!

I do think it is a good product and one that would make a very nice Engagement, Wedding, Student going to Uni etc gift. I am quite impressed with it.


BETA Adult Sensitive with Salmon Dry Dog Food, 2.5 kg (Pack of 4)
BETA Adult Sensitive with Salmon Dry Dog Food, 2.5 kg (Pack of 4)
Price: £27.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Speciality Food – Well Priced, 27 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
BETA Sensitive Salmon & Rice Dry Dog Food is another product from the Nestle Purina manufacturer, and a well know name.

As time has gone by, the choice of dog foods out in the market place has increased so much, that sometimes it is hard to tell the wood from the trees. The BETA range has been developed for the life stages of our doggie friends and this particular one is formulated for dogs with sensitivity problems.

So my findings along with "Amber" and "Maisy" my two rescue dogs:-

• This food is well packaged in a strong eco-friendly paper sack. It is easy to just open 1 corner to dispense the food, but being paper, the sack is not re-sealable

• There is plenty of information on the packaging giving the dog owner the ingredients list, the purpose of this specific food formula and a daily feeding guide based on the weight of the dog.

• This food is developed and nutritionally balanced with ingredients that are tailored to help dogs that have sensitive skin & coat and sensitive digestion. Many dogs suffer from sensitivity which invariably results in skin or digestive problems.

• The kibble is in two different shapes and sizes (see my photos) and is suitable for medium – medium + sized dogs.

• The smell on opening the bag is not strong, and I did not find any smell or residue left on my hands after grabbing a handful out of the bag.

• The shelf life on my bag was nice and long – September 2016.

• I like the fact that at just 23%, this food is lower in protein than a lot of dog foods are.

• This kibble has a nice hard crunch to it, as demonstrated by "Maisy" my petite Border Collie! Unlike "Amber" the greedy mongrel who just usually gobbles her food. She did however have to take a bit more care to crunch the larger pieces of kibble!

Both my dogs loved it and a sensitivity diet will suit both of them. "Amber" is an older dog and "Maisy" came to us with some digestive problems which occasionally still flare up. Please remember that when changing over your dog's food, you need to do it gradually by slowing introducing the new food into the old and then gradually up the quantity of the new food and thus reducing the quantity of the old food.

If your dog is already suffering from sensitivity problems, then this food is not going to perform miracles, especially if the problems are severe. Your first port of call must be your Vet, so as to get a definitive diagnosis and cause, and veterinary advice and treatment as necessary.

My belief is that this food would be used more as a preventative of any problems and to try and stop any sensitivity taking hold. Some breeds are more prone, more pre-disposed to skin problems in particular (eg the West Highland White Terrier) and it could be a good idea to use sensitivity foods even before a problem occurs, but that is just my opinion.

As an owner I think this is a great dog food and is a very affordable one. I shall certainly buy more for "Amber" and "Maisy" in the future.
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Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Day Lotion, 50g
Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Day Lotion, 50g
Price: £16.33

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Naturally Good!, 27 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Experience of Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Day Lotion

Burt's Bees is a popular brand and one often seen in women's magazines. This is the first time I have used any of the range.

• Un-impressive packaging - very 'Health Food Shop' style, with multilingual usage information.
• Inside the box, the pump style dispenser has anti tamper protection and a plastic seal. It is solid white plastic, not translucent, so you will not be able to see when the contents are getting low.
• The bottle is suitable for recycling, depending on your local Council facilities.
• The pump action dispenser gives easy access to the contents. 1 press on the pump, dispenses enough of the lotion on to your fingers to cover face and neck,
• This lotion is nice and thick and creamy, and I found it very easy to massage into my skin. It worked in well and I did not find it to be at all greasy, just nice and rich. My face felt nicely moisturised all day and very comfortable.
• The fragrance is extremely natural and delicate and not at all over-powering.

I am very impressed with Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Day Lotion, and can recommend it from the aspect of me being an older woman.

In my opinion it is a bit expensive and I could not afford to continue using it. There is only 50 grams of Lotion inside the dispenser which will not last very long in daily use. I suppose it costs more given that it is made in the USA, even though it is distributed in London. The cost is the reason I have marked it down a star.

What is impressive, is the HUGE range of products that are available from Burt's Bees, so must have a good look at the other products.


skinChemists Coldtox Serum 25 ml
skinChemists Coldtox Serum 25 ml
Price: £60.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Far Too Expensive, 25 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
skinChemists Coldtox Anti Age Serum

First impressions –
• Cheap & flimsy box packaging – certainly not what one expects for a product as expensive as this is.
• Usage instructions printed in grey on white and of a tiny size is not helpful as it is extremely difficult to read
• Glass jar that the product is in looks smart with its silver top, and is of a nice weight so should not easily be knocked over. At this price you would not want to waste a drop of the contents!

In Use –
• The serum has a very, very delicate, fresh perfume – a bit lemony.
• I found that quite a lot of the product was needed to cover my face, as it did not go a long way.
• Once on, my facial skin felt fresh.
• When the serum had dried on my skin, my face felt very slightly tightened – a bit like it does when a face mask has dried.
• On touching my face, it felt like there was a protective covering over the skin – it was a bit weird.
• There was no noticeable difference in the lines that appear when I smile.

Conclusion –
• Did I like it? It was ok
• Did it do the job it was made for? Not really on me, and I am lucky enough not to be too lined for my late 60s years.
• Do I recommend it? – If you have plenty of money it is probably worth a try, but prepare yourself to be disappointed.
• It is very expensive for what it is. The amount in the jar is very little and even if it works for you, then you need to have plenty of money in the Bank.

My low star rating is based on these conclusions.


Little Girl Gone
Little Girl Gone
by Alexandra Burt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary, Gripping and Very, Very Plausible, 22 Aug. 2015
This review is from: Little Girl Gone (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
"Little Girl Gone" a novel

This is an amazing novel and even more so because it is a debut novel for author Alexandra Burt!

How can a 7 month old baby girl – Mia Connor – disappear from a securely locked apartment within a large house in New York? Not only has Mia disappeared but everything that belongs to her has gone also! Clothes, Formula, Feeding Bottles, Diapers – everything. It is like she had never been there!

Mother Estelle is living in the apartment on her own while her husband is in Chicago, trying to further his Law career. Their marriage is a bit shaky anyway and to ad insult to injury, husband Jack has little patience with Estelle. She has found it hard adjusting to be a Mom and having no back up or understanding from Jack, is making it so much worse. He has the attitude that Estelle should just pull herself together and get on with things.

On waking to find her baby, and all trace of her gone from the apartment, Estelle searches everywhere within her home, doubting her own sanity. She goes out to the street. She goes to the 70th Precinct in Brooklyn to get help from the police, to tell them what has happened. The atmosphere there is one of indifference and impatience and this coupled with the fact that poor Estelle is in deep, deep shock, she simply rushes out of the building. She feels ill. She feels helpless. She has no one to turn to.

The book takes us back in time to when Jack and Estelle first met. It takes us to when they found out that Estelle was pregnant. It takes us to the days after the birth and the struggle Estelle has in quieting baby Mia who just seems to cry and cry all the time.

We go with Estelle on the journey to try and find Mia. The journey that is oh so slow because unless Estelle can recall events, then she is to go on trial under suspicion of having killed her baby. Painstakingly and piece by slowly found piece the reader is taken from Estelle being in hospital to the ultimate conclusion of the story.

How does it end? Is there a happy ever after? You will only find that out if, like me, you pick up and read this gripping and brilliantly constructed novel.

It is AMAZING – a sure fired best seller - and I can't wait for the next one from Alexandra Burt


Philips HD9305/26 Brushed Metal Kettle, 2200 W, 1.5 Litre
Philips HD9305/26 Brushed Metal Kettle, 2200 W, 1.5 Litre
Price: £25.00

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Frills and Works Very Well, 22 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Philips Brushed Stainless Steel Kettle HD9305/26

Philips Electrical Products are a long standing and well known brand, so, how did this simple kettle do? Well read on for my experience.

• The kettle is nicely boxed with good illustrations.
• The User Guide is multilingual with a wealth of illustrations to back up the written instructions, and the booklet covers all aspects of use. These instructions cover both this model and also HD9302
• The product has a 2 year world wide Guarantee and can be registered on-line.
• The power cord is long and measures 28 inches from the outer edge of the base to the entry at the plug end. Should you not need to use the full length of the power cord, you can adjust the length by coiling it round the underside of the base.
• A 3 pin plug is moulded on – a standard one for use in the UK.
• The Stainless Steel body of the kettle is rust resistant BUT please be aware that the outer wall of the kettle DOES GET HOT.
• The kettle has a boil-dry protection in the event that it is accidentally turned on with either no water, or very little in it. This is a welcome safety feature.
• The handle is nice and chunky and very comfortable to hold.
• To open the kettle lid, it just needs pulling up. As it has a nice firm snap on to close it, then only open it once cool, as you will need to steady the kettle with one hand while using the other to pull the lid open by its top handle. There is nothing to go wrong. Having had press button to open kettles in the past, they have always broken or got too scaled up with steam, so back to basics seems better to me.
• It is useful to be able to remove the lid completely for de-scaling purposes, as in hard water areas even the steam leaves lime scale deposits. The lid is easy to remove - just open it by about 45°, hold the kettle handle with one hand and pull the lid off with the other. When re-attaching the lid, it is easier to do it at the 90° angle.
• The kettle has 2 filters – 1 static in the form of the all in one stainless steel casing, having perforations in the spout area. Then there is an inner nylon mesh removable filter. This is very easy to remove by just pressing the black 'button' inwards, which is situated at the centre of the top row of perforations on the static filter. Then to re-fit, just slot the bottom protrusion on the mesh filter, back into the rectangular hole which is situated on the bottom row of perforations on the static filter. Then click the top of the mesh filter back into place.
• The nice dumpy shape of the kettle means it is not too tall for when filling up in a shallow sink. From the base of the kettle to the top edge of it with the lid open for filling, it measures 8 inches.
• Stainless Steel with black trim is smart looking, and in my opinion will stay better looking for longer than plastic kettles which tend to discolour over time, especially if they are white.
• I have used the kettle filled to the max and found it to be quiet and fairly fast in coming to the boil. It switched itself off in a timely manner and did not over boil. There is no 'on' indicator light and the outer walls do get hot (as warned in the User Guide).
• Steam did not escape from the lid area, just the spout and the kettle pours very nicely.

All in all, this Philips Kettle is very good and has a reasonable price tag for a well built product. I have only deducted 1 star because of the lack of any illumination to indicate when it is turned on. This fact does not bother me, but it is something that the consumer has got used to having.

If any other disadvantages crop up over time, then I will update my review.
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L'Oreal Garnier Body Replenish Lotion for Very Dry Skin - 400 ml
L'Oreal Garnier Body Replenish Lotion for Very Dry Skin - 400 ml
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Lovely, Effective Moisturiser for the Body, 22 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Garnier Body Intensive 7 Days Ultra Replenishing Lotion

• Really pretty pale green packaging and a nice large size at 400ml
• Excellent Value
• Flip top bottle gives easy access to the product with no top to unscrew and lose! I find this type of dispensing far more convenient.
• The bottle is suitable for recycling, depending on your local Council facilities.
• This lotion is soooooooooo beautifully creamy, unlike a lot of lotions which are a bit watery. That's why I normally buy creams.
• This lotion works in well to the skin and is not at all greasy, just nice and rich.
• There is hardly any fragrance, it is very innocuous and so should not clash with you perfume.

My lower legs tend to get very dry and sometimes a bit scaly – an unfortunate by product of the ageing process. I applied this body lotion in the morning and it felt great all day and even after having soaked in the bath, my legs still felt hydrated.

Note that the manufacturer states it must not be used on the face.

I really recommend this body lotion, it is gorgeous and is not at all expensive and does a great job!


Purina PRO PLAN Dog Medium and Large Adult 7+ with Optiage Rich in Chicken Dry Food - 3 kg
Purina PRO PLAN Dog Medium and Large Adult 7+ with Optiage Rich in Chicken Dry Food - 3 kg
Price: £13.90

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Amber" said 'Great for Senior Dogs - must have Wealthy Owners!', 22 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Purina PRO PLAN Dog Medium – Large Adult 7+ OptiAge Chicken Dry Dog Food

Another new Dog Food from the Purina brand. This time, one designed for your 'Senior' canine friends.

• As is normal with Purina, this food is well packaged. It is contained in an easy-tear, easy open, strong plastic bag, which provides a good size opening for pouring out the contents. There is a well placed handle at the opposite side of the bag for ease of lifting/manoeuvring. No need to decant the food after opening the bag, as there is a press-seal closure to keep the food fresh.

• The square shaped size kibble is suitable for medium - large sized dogs. It would be a bit small for the very large/giant breeds though, in my opinion.

• There is no real strong smell on opening the bag, when I sniffed the top of the open bag, it was a little bit like fish and chips!. There was no smell or residue left on my hands after putting the kibble into an activity toy or the bowl.

• The shelf life on my bag was nice and long – December 2016.

• There is a Daily Feeding Guide printed on the packaging and I found this to be particularly helpful. Unlike most dog foods that provide a feeding guide, which is usually based on the weight of your dog, this feeding guide gives advice not only in relation to weight but also to the activity levels of your dog. I think this is such a good idea and hope that other Pet Food Manufacturers follow this lead.

• This OptiAge Chicken flavour food is very high in protein at 29% and has a 15% fat content so be careful if your dog has any pancreatic problems or suffers from colitis. I would also say to be a bit careful in feeding to an older dog, however your best place for advice is your Veterinary Surgeon who knows what is best for your dog and it's state of digestive health.

• This kibble has a reasonably hard crunch to it and is a good size which will fit into a lot of activity feeder toys.

"Amber" my 10½ Crossbreed liked it and there were no digestive problems caused by it. However please remember that when changing over your dog's food, you need to do it gradually by slowing introducing the new food into the old and then gradually up the quantity of the new food and thus reducing the quantity of the old food.

As an owner I think this food is extremely expensive and is disappointingly low in Chicken. I like the fact that Fish Oil is included as this is good for mobility/joint function. The Vegetable Oil is likely to keep the skin supple and healthy. However I am not keen on the Soya and Gluten content as these ingredients can cause problems. My star rating is reflective of this.

Once this bag is used up, I regret I will not be buying anymore as I don’t feel it is worth the money.
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Garnier Vitamin Enriched Cleansing Wipes - Pack of 25
Garnier Vitamin Enriched Cleansing Wipes - Pack of 25
Price: £2.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle & Effective for Sensitive Skin, 20 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Garnier Skin Naturals Cleansing Wipes – Simply Essentials

There is a huge variety of cleansing wipes to choose from out there in the market place, from very cheap supermarket own brands to branded ones at a higher price

Having now tried these Garnier "Simply Essentials", made especially for sensitive skin from the Skin Naturals range, they are certainly a much better quality for the money.

I have normal skin with a very slight sensitivity and am in my late 60s.

• These Facial Wipes are slightly quilted and have absolutely no fragrance whatsoever.
• They are strong and are of a very good size, measuring 6 inches x 7½ inches.
• I don’t wear much make-up, just a very light tinted moisturiser, lipstick and waterproof mascara. These facial wipes successfully removed all of it. My skin felt very clean, refreshed and soft afterwards and with no greasy residue.
• There was no adverse reaction or any sensitivity round my eye area and I went well over my eyes. No stinging or blurring of vision or anything.
• The pack is easy to open and then closes back well.

Using these Skin Naturals 'Simply Essentials' Cleansing Wipes for sensitive skin has been a pleasure and I can really recommend them.


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